GLF 59: Calum pays tribute...
When the story first surfaced in the summer of 2004 that we were signing Irish “madman” Richie Foran,I'm sure most Motherwell fans didn't quite know what to expect.At the time of signing,more was made of Richie's night club shenanigans and discipline problems than his on-field credentials.On the footballing side all we knew was that he was a fast striker who used to play for the Under-21 Irish side and scored 29 goals in three seasons for Carlisle.
Richie Foran's ‘Well record –
As can be seen above, Richie's scoring record is quite impressive for a player who has played predominantly in midfield for us over the last year and a half.Although he likes getting stuck in,his supposed discipline problems almost seem laughable now considering he has never even been sent off.
After the recent Dundee United game he was quoted as saying he would score 20 goals in a season if he played up front.I for one would like to see Richie get the chance to prove this.
Although,as he admitted himself,I cannot see it happening in the near future.The only time I can remember Richie playing up-front as the main striker was Nov/ Dec 2004.During this period he scored 5 goals ( 2 at Livi in Cup Quarter,penalty away to Jam Farts,home games against Livi and Dunfermline ). Skippy was out injured at the time,so Richie was playing up front with Clarky.
I can still clearly picture the home games against Livi and Dunfermline,when Richie played outstandingly as the main striker.Playing up front,it seemed as if Richie had renewed confidence in his abilities as he was making crazy runs beating a couple of players at a time.
After this short spell,Richie only played up front a couple more times before being put back into midfield once Skippy was fit,with Terry once again favouring the Skippy and Clarky partnership.We didn't win in the next six games ( losing to Rangers,Celtic,Inverness,Killie twice and drawing with Aberdeen ) until the CIS Semi-Final at Easter Road.During this time it would have been good to see Richie and Skippy play up front together a bit more.It only happened once at Ibrox on Boxing Day,where they were never exactly going to get the best opportunity to gel where they ?After the Semi- Final and the arrival of Jim Hamilton,Richie was put on the bench and never given a proper chance up front again.I'll never understand why Butcher never gave Skippy and Richie more of an opportunity to play up front together during that time !Maybe he felt Skippy and Richie were too similar to play up front ?Or in his eyes Richie isn't actually good enough to regularly start up front ?Who knows ?
At present it probably wouldn't be best to swap things about up front,mainly because of the good partnership formed between our two main strikers this season. No-one can deny that Big Jim has complemented Skippy perfectly at times this year,forming our best up-front partnership for years.Although there have been several occasions when I would have given my left leg to see Richie up front again at some point.His tally of nine goals shows he can score,so why not stick him up front for a few games to see what he can do ?
It looks as if Richie is only now starting to show his true potential on the left wing this season.At first it looked as if Richie didn't quite fancy playing on the left,but in recent games he has made the position his own.For a player who is right footed and struggles with his left,I think Richie deserves great credit for sticking to his task and developing his play on the left hand side.
At Tynecastle recently,his all round play especially attacking was great to watch.His passion for the shirt is also refreshing to see in this day and age.If only Richie was given the chance to become one of our main strikers and form a partnership with Skippy,I'm positive he could reach the twenty goals he spoke about after the Arabs game.
We all see things differently,but I still feel to this day that Richie has never been given a fair crack of the whip in order to become the “ feisty,athletic striker ” we supposedly signed two summers ago.
Have a pint of Guinness on me Richie….!
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